January 31st is perhaps a little late for a review of 2011 but, in my defence, I'm really slow. I started it and forgot I hadn't finished.
These things made 2011 bearable.
Album of the year. Worthy mentions for Atlum Schema's four EPs, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. All good and at least one belting track on each. The lad deserves fame and fortune soon. Loved the second Battles album, Gloss Drop, Metals by Feist, Glasvegas' Euphoric Heartbreak and 4Ererevolution by Roots Manuva.
But for sheer vocal virtuosity, a skill which the Apprentice rarely acknowledges, Claire Maguire's Light After Dark gets the prize. She can sing so you hear Florence Welch, Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and Joan Armatrading; yet all melanged uniquely.
Harry Baker's slam poetry at Cafe Create, Nailsea was beathtaking. Find him, see him live.
Bonobo Live at Bristol 02 was a good evening out; not least because the family came and we have few areas of cross-over. Last time we tried it was Herbie Hancock and I don't think I've quite been forgiven.
Comedy gig award to a rambling, and not especially sober, Dylan Moran. I wish I could be as erudite and amusing without rudeness when pickled.
Source Code was my escapist film of the year. Didn't quite take me where I expected and left a few things open at the end. Let's just pray they have no plans for Source Code II.
The i Paper improved my life immensely. If I didn't fancy reading in bed there was a choice of three puzzles to do.
The New Battle Axes at Wraxall offered fine services to mid-week evenings off with Mrs Apprentice. Slightly pricey (you pay for the refit) but their two local real ales Flatcappers and Battle Axe are to die for. As is their way with a fruit crumble. Alcoholic pick-me-ups at home provided by New Zealand sauvignon blancs. Hard to find a bad one.
Escapist book of the year was Robert Harris' The Fear Index. A day in the life of a risk-taking banker. A bad day.